Rope Upright Row: Muscle Worked, Benefits, Form

The cable rope upright row is a variation of the upright row and an exercise used to build the muscles of the shoulders and traps. Utilizing the cable pulley machine is useful in that it provides constant tension on the target muscle group as you move the weight through the range of motion.

There is no doubt, it is one of the best exercises for building upper back, but it’s also easy to get wrong. Typically, this will just result in you missing out on the muscle-building benefits of the move. However, incorrect technique can also place undue pressure on your shoulders and increase your risk of injury.

You shouldn’t be scared out of integrating the rope row upright row into your routine. There are several ways you’ll need to look out to improve the technique. To perform the upright cable row exercises in a safe and effective way, must read this blog.

Cable Rope Upright Row Muscles Worked

A real upper body powerhouse, the upright row machine mainly target your Traps and deltoid. Some of the body’s most integral muscle groups, including:

  • Shoulders: Working on the deltoids, rhomboids, and trapezius muscles, it is perfect for building strength, muscle, and stability in the shoulder and upper back region.
  • Rhomboids: Upper back muscles that connect the shoulder blades and offer a great deal of support, working on your rhomboids will improve your posture.
  • Biceps: As major arm muscles, building your biceps will significantly enhance your upper body strength as well as general upper body resilience.

Benefits of a Cable Rope Upright Row

Here are the benefits of a rope upright row :

  • Muscle strength & growth: Due to its targeted pulling motion, a large group of major upper body muscles are targeted. Performing this exercise regularly is likely to accelerate your muscle growth and strength in your back, biceps, and shoulders.
  • Stability & conditioning: Upright row activates all major areas of the shoulders, making it excellent for upper body stability and conditioning. By doing frequent upright rows, you will improve your position while protecting yourself from injury.
  • Builds Traps: Traps are tricky to build. There are only a handful of exercises that mainly target your traps. A rope upright row utilizes your traps just as much as it works your shoulders.
  • Arm power: It will make your arms more powerful, improving your performance in other exercises and activities as a result.
  • Improve your posture. When practiced with proper form, upright row exercises help build strength in your upper body stabilizer muscle groups, helping you stand up tall and keep your back straight.

Cable Rope Upright Row

The rope upright row is a movement that targets many of the large muscles in the upper back and shoulders. It is key for many movements (see below) in strength, power, and fitness sports.

Cable machines keep tension on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion, ultimately increasing muscle activation and hypertrophy.

Rope Upright Row
Muscles Involved

Primary: Trapezius, Lateral deltoid.

Secondary: Anterior deltoid, supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii,

Execution Technique
  1. Set the pulley to the lowest position and grab an end of the rope in each hand with an overhand grip
  2. Stand close to the pulley with your body upright, your shoulders pulled back.
  3. Begin with the ends of the rope resting on your thighs.
  4. From there, flex your elbows and pull the rope up towards your chin, until the middle of the rope is in line with your collar bone.
  5. Lower the rope back down to your thighs. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
  • Bend slightly at the knees and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your shoulders back, chest out, and body upright.
  • Don’t allow your back to arch as you pull the rope up, don’t allow excess weight to dictate your body mechanics.
Sets & Reps
  • 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps.

Cable Rope Upright Row Form

  1. You’re lifting too much weight: If your weight is too heavy, the movement will require momentum. Heavy lifting will take the focus away from the shoulders or, even worse, put too much stress on them.
  2. Don’t pull the rope too high: Pulling the rope too high can increase the likelihood of an impingement injury at the shoulder. Controlling the movement and limiting your elbows to reach the same height as your shoulders ensure you are not exerting your shoulder and potentially causing an injury.
  3. Brace your core and keep your torso upright: As with any lift, maintaining a strong and stable core throughout the lift will aid with bracing and thus protect the spine.
  4. Don’t roll shoulder forward: When lowering the weight, make sure your chest is proud and shoulders pulled back/together.


A cable rope upright row can strengthen the posterior chain muscles, including the shoulders and upper back. With great attention to form, you’ll reap all the benefits.

Let us know, in the comment section below, your valuable suggestions!

Thanks for reading.

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